Just Right Jillian (Paperback)
In this heartfelt middle grade novel from debut author Nicole D. Collier, fifth grader Jillian must learn to speak and break free of her shell to enter her school's academic competition and keep her promise to her grandmother.
Fifth grader Jillian will do just about anything to blend in, including staying quiet even when she has the right answer. After she loses a classroom competition because she won't speak up, she sets her mind on winning her school's biggest competition.
But breaking out of her shell is easier said than done, and Jillian has only a month to keep her promise to her grandmother and prove to herself that she can speak up and show everyone her true self.
A warm and relatable middle grade debut novel about family, friendship, and finding the confidence to break free from the crowd and be who you truly are.
- A CCBC Best of the Year
- A Bank Street College Best Book of the Year
About the Author
Nicole D. Collier, Ph.D., is a former elementary school teacher turned executive coach. She’s also a noncompetitive runner and salsera and has been known to turn cartwheels from time to time. The Georgia native writes contemporary middle grade fiction.
“A heartwarming novel about developing the courage to stop hiding.” — Kirkus Reviews
"Jillian perfectly encapsulates the contradicting feelings of adolescence, and her attempts to forge her own path and find her identity will be instantly relatable to anyone who has ever felt shy or small.” — School Library Journal
“This relatable and emotional novel reminds readers that everyone might be fighting their own private battles and that losing or failing at something doesn’t mean you’re not a winner.” — Booklist
"This first-person narrative introduces a brilliant, self-actualized preteen. . . . Readers will cheer for Jillian as she is finally able to break out of her own shell." — Horn Book Magazine
"A tender tale of self-acceptance and friendship, this title is an excellent pick for middle graders grappling with the big questions surrounding identity, expression, and the beauty of our different paths of growth." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"Debut author Collier offers an expressively told, inspirational novel that considers grief, chronic illness of a family member, and anxiety while showcasing the power of practicing love, empathy, and self-determination." — Publishers Weekly
"A heartwarming story of friendship, facing your fears, and learning to believe in yourself!" — Claribel A. Ortega, author of Ghost Squad
"With a heroine who is brave, compassionate, and true to herself, Just Right Jillian, is a new classic in the making." — Christina Soontornvat, Newbery Honor-winning author of A Wish in the Dark
"Just Right Jillian masterfully weaves several themes together: overcoming one's fears, learning to speak up and stand out, friendship, grief, and STEM. Readers will root for Jillian from the very beginning to its heartwarming end.” — Janae Marks, Author of From The Desk of Zoe Washington
“Jillian stole my heart and had me cheering with every turn of the page. Wise and full of hope, this is a middle-grade novel to treasure.” — Lisa Lewis Tyre, author of Last in a Long List of Rebels and Hope in the Holler
“This book was a joy from beginning to end!” — Anika Noni Rose, actress and voice of Princess Tiana.
"In a novel reflecting deep understanding of social anxiety and the grounding power of creativity, Jillian gradually reveals more of who she is to her classmates, including her colorful personal style and talent for weaving. They, in turn, prove eager to get to know her." — CCBC Choices 2023